Manx Voice | Computer drop-in centre for disabled set up
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Computer drop-in centre for disabled set up

Isle of Man BCS members have created a computer drop-in centre primarily for people with disabilities at the Leonard Cheshire Disability Centre in Onchan on the Isle of Man.

It’s very easy to take the availability of IT for granted. It’s often hard to imagine that there are people who have never used a computer, or indeed seen or had the ability to access the internet.

Leonard Cheshire Disability Centre is now able to offer disabled and older people in their community the access to IT facilities many people take for granted.

BCS Members worked with Keith Fitton, Service Manager of Leonard Cheshire, to ensure that the critical items were secured for the drop-in centre. BCS Members Nick Smith from Phoenix IT, John Cannell from RBS, Tracy Kinrade from Central Software and Peter Jackson from Open Systems Management worked together to plan, source and install all the IT requirements needed for four disabled users at the centre.

The idea of the computer drop-in centre was to meet three requirements:

  1. Provide a facility where disabled people can simply come along for an element of social activity while they surf the internet or check their email and perhaps do their shopping online.
  2. Offer an opportunity to develop completely new skills for people who have not used computers before.
  3. Enable the process of supporting disabled people along the path either to further education or employment.

Other local Manx companies have supported the scheme to enable the project team to get the centre up and running. These include Cains Advocates, which purchased flexible computer desks that can be adjusted to allow wheel chair users to sit comfortably while working on the computer.

Gary Shilling from Wi-Manx donated a router and provided ADSL internet access, while Timberland flooring transformed the centre by donating a new floor, which is more wheel chair friendly. GamesMaster of Ramsey donated a Wii game station.

Tracy Kinrade from Central Software commented: ‘New technology has great potential to overcome barriers in education, the workplace and social life for disabled and older people.
The project team were all delighted to be involved and excited that this facility will provide its many users with the facilities and access to the world which we all take for granted.’

The centre was opened by the island’s Department of Health and Social Security Chief Executive David Killip, who said: ‘It’s clearly going to be a wonderful facility.’

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